We can only guess what was going through the minds of Martin McGuiness and Elizabeth Windsor as they shook hands in Belfast last week. Several commentators recognised the symbolism of a painful process of reconciliation. Lessons from Northern Ireland about the futility of violence need to be applied in other parts of the world, and in other areas of life.
Some have read the President of Ireland's recent comments on the Vatican and the abuse scandal as an attack on the Roman Catholic Church. But in reality, says Savi Hensman, it reflects divisions within the church, bringing not only judgement but also the hope of renewal. It can also challenge Christians of all traditions to think more deeply about the responsibilities of the laity.